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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mark Rashid, Friday October 26, 2007 Thornton, NH

"I don’t care if they get distracted. I care how much it takes to get them back."

The more consistent you are, the easier it gets.

If a horse is just running though a stop, turn him. If they stop with lightness and some brace, back up till you have softness.

If she puts her head up with the halt, she’s disconnecting her hind quarters and her forequarters. She’s not using her hindquarters to stop.

If she can’t stop out of a trot, we’ve got a problem.

With softness she can hear you all the time. With lightness, she will hear you only when things are going well.

Yielding to the bit is part of it. The other part is going to softness.

We want to eliminate her making decisions, taking over. She’s used to that but we want to change that.

Trot – halt:
1-2, 1-2, 1-2 rhythm. Breathe out on 1, use reins on 2. Breathe out becomes cue for a change coming, like a half halt.

Exhale on the exertion. Exhale can start as a cue/half halt, to be completed with the actual transition.

The backing is not a punishment. It is a way to help her get soft. So, don’t back every time, only when needed to find softness.

Horse will try different things as she’s gaining understanding. She’ll stop without brace then she’ll brace again. She’s trying to figure it out.

Mark would like to get it 80% -- and that reflects about how much he can expect of himself regarding consistency.

Get it so it’s working pretty well, then do something else – before they start searching for something else. In their mind, they say it must not be you wanted that because we’re still trying. Let her think about it – give her a break.

New info – generally it is up to 6 hours before it is understood, linked to prior info known; about twice as long for horses. Then all the info is available.

Horse has to not just understand it, but she has to figure out how to get her body to do it. [This sounds like me learning Aikido!] She has to reverse everything she’s done in her life and do it differently – engage underbody and let go of topline.

Student of the horse versus student of technique. Developing understanding versus training.

Rider T:

Soft turn. If you want a soft turn, stablilize your hands. If a turn feels heavy, where does it come from? Horse leans, rider pulls; even if the horse gives, rider pulls and horse leans.

Steady hands sets it up so she can get a release because rider won’t be pulling back when the horse gives.

With young horse especially, focus on one thing at a time: forward, stop and back, turns, etc.

If you are really concerned about forward, get forward. Then work on turns if you need to.

Focus: develop a quiet mind. In order for horse to have quiet mind, human has to have quiet mind. Mind like still water.

When our mind is quiet, we can see things for what they are. A worried horse is a worried horse, not a horse that is about to buck her off, just a worried horse.

Not a worried horse, just a horse who doesn’t know what her job is. So we need to help her know her job.

Mark’s 5 year plan: everything that comes his way he evaluates: is this something that is going to be important to me in five years? If not, let it go. It may come back in six months and need to be evaluated again but for now, it’s meaningless. Prioritize.

First thought around horses: how can I help you understand what we’re going to do? NOT: how can I make you do it?

This rider needs to give horse guidance when horse gets worried, not lock up and get lost.

Have something in mind all the time when you’re doing something with a horse. Mark always keeps “softness” in mind.

When horse gets in trouble, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end: troubled, directing horse, calm and resuming doing things.

Find a way to get the horse’s mind back. Feel it when the horse is getting tight and direct it right away rather than wait 10,15, 20 steps. Feel the softness and notice when it starts to leave and bring it back.

As a rider: if we don’t know what to do, our instinct kicks in. With horse or rider, when you get to the end of your chain of knowledge, instinct kicks in: freeze up and don’t know what to do.

In martial arts, practice, practice, practice, train, practice, etc. – the only way to get better. It’s OK to make a mistake; the idea is DO SOMETHING.

Inhale/exhale rhythm at canter: depends on horse and rider. With C and gray horse: 8 in, 9 out.

Canter: horse’s exhale is with exertion, with outside hind, the “power foot”, for canter.

Human’s exhale at same time for stop prep—exhale with horse’s power foot, then next step is stop.

Be part of the stop, not on the stop.

D and big black:

The heel thing: open left heel to allow right hind to step to center line, or vice versa.

Can also think about right hind landing under your left foot.

Lateral at canter: float it left. Float it right. It’s not a push. Don’t use your leg for this, it’s not a push. Working on half pass or whatever it’s called.

It creates a brace to use leg. Instead: barrel swings, want to float sideways, using the energy of the movement.

D is riding “on the movement” and she needs to be part of the movement. Most riders create the movement then follow it. Instead, use the horse’s movement as your movement. You won’t know where the horse stops and you start. Become part of the movement. You’ll initiate the movement anyway. What D and Crissi were working on: connecting centers.

A little dead zone is when she’s setting it up and waiting for it to happen. Everything we’re doing with this horse – we’re not teaching him something. It’s about us doing something the same way with him in a calm way.

Look for the good the horse is offering and build on it.

Technique is part of it, plus the intangible, the feel part of it.

F with young horse:

How foals learn: for approximately one year, they can do pretty much whatever they want in the herd. About a year old or when they are weaned (6 mo –1yr) the other members of the herd dictate that the babies become productive members of the herd, almost overnight.

F’s young horse has not bridged the gap. At 6-9 months, horses are ready to turn decision making over to somebody else. Ground driving is about turning decision making over. This youngster (F’s) isn’t ready because he’s not done certain things prior to ground driving.

Ground driving is an extension of other things. He needs to know how to respond when he is asked to do something. He’s looking for someone to follow. If we don’t lead, they won’t follow. They will lead.
1. Needs boundaries.
2. He can put himself back after he breeches the boundaries. Mark established boundary by swinging his arm out describing his circle of boundary. Hand went into horse’s head and nose moved away. Boundary is arm’s length. Horse’s anxiety level will start to drop once he understands the boundaries.
3. If he gets distracted, he can come back. Horse had been asking F to give way and now Mark is asking him to do the same thing. With no boundaries, he’s just looking for someone to tell him where to be, not just “stop that”. Plus he moves himself away. If he can move himself backward then he has let go of the forward thought. Then Mark moves to see if the horse can come back mentally.

“I don’t need his attention all the time but I need him to bring it back when I ask.”

Important that when Mark asks him to give way and back up, the horse keeps backing up even after Mark stops, instead of barging forward as soon as Mark stops asking for back.

This is the beginning of learning for this horse. Keep it simple. All that is needed is boundaries. Don’t add more things because then there will be lots he doesn’t understand. So keep it simple right now. Don’t overload him. Ground driving wouldn’t work because he can’t even give way right now.

If he gets sticky with leading, take him back over himself -- not off to the side -- and he’ll start getting prepared by moving his feet, hinds and fronts ready to follow.

Boundaries and following – that’s all for now.

Instead of shaking rope, just start with stepping in to him, with this particular horse, best to respond to the human's body. If out somewhere without a lead rope, then in trouble if horse has only responded to rope and not to one’s presence.

Start with presence and use rope or sound or whatever if you need to.

It’s not about making him back up. It’s about helping him find the right thing.

Energy – bringing up the energy without emotion.

Boundaries are the key thing in a herd – the very first thing. Affection is the last thing in a herd.

Being able to move another horse is really important for a horse to know. Teaching a horse to give way is helping him know how he fits into our herd.

Buckskin in round pen:

If he needs to spook, let’s see if he can spook smaller. If he has to run, we know he’ll feel better because he’s already found softness when he moves at the canter. So the distance of his bolting gets less and less -- we’ll help him deal with it.

Started on Wednesday with helping the horse find breathing and softness while moving. Horse has history of bolting when spooked. So started with finding softness when moving fast, so when spooks come again, horse can find softness rather than keep worrying more and more with speed.


Blogger Joan Fisher said...

Very interesting on leading the horse. To move him over himself and not off to the side. Side has worked 100 % of the time for me.
But I will try pull over to see if results are faster :-)

9:58 AM  

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